The Gospel in 10 sound bites

People sometimes ask me why I wrote The Gospel in Ten Words. I tell them it was like having an unplanned baby. I never meant to write that book. It just sort of happened.

I actually set out to write a different book but I got distracted by a question: Who are you in Christ? Most Christians don’t know. “Who am I? Well, um, I’m a Christian, and, um…”

The number one problem facing the church is an identity crisis. We don’t know who we are. In the absence of a clear identity we define ourselves by what we do. “I pastor people so I guess I’m a pastor. Call me pastor.” Or, “I sin a lot so I must be a backslider.” But you are more than what you do.

I wrote The Gospel in Ten Words so that you might know who you truly are. You are your Father’s dearly beloved child. In union with Christ you are holy, righteous, accepted, royal, and many other wonderful things.

The Gospel in Ten Words was released a year ago this week. In the past 12 months I have been blessed to hear from readers who have been set free by the message in this book. To everyone who’s taken the time to write or post a review, thank you! (Check out what readers have said here.)

To celebrate the first birthday of this unplanned baby, I thought you might enjoy some of the best bits from The Gospel in Ten Words

1. The gospel is the glad and merry news that God is good, he loves you, and he will happily give up everything he has so he can have you. Contrary to popular belief, God is not mad at you. He is not even in a bad mood. The good news declares that God is happy, he is for you, and he wants to share his life with you forever.

2. Learning to walk in the love of God means learning to walk in his grace. It’s following Jesus instead of Job. It’s no longer trying to impress God with your sacrifices and but being impressed with his. God will never make you jump through hoops to earn his love. He won’t love you any more if you succeed and he won’t love you any less if you fail. If you lead millions to Christ or none at all, he will love you just the same. God loved you while you were dead in sin and he didn’t stop loving you when you got saved. His love endures forever.

3. Your baptism into Christ’s death is just about the most important thing that ever happened to you, yet many Christians are ignorant of it. Ask them about their past and you will hear all the bad things that happened to them and all the dumb choices they made. Although their intent is to glorify Christ, the reality is they are living in the shadow of someone else’s past. Their present is haunted by the ghost of who they used to be. Just once I would like to hear a testimony like the apostle Paul’s: “I was born, I did some stuff, then I died. I was crucified with Christ, and the person I used to be no longer lives.”

4. We are constantly being told, “You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough, tall enough, rich enough, or cool enough. Your teeth aren’t white enough or straight enough. Your skin is the wrong color, your body is the wrong shape, and you smell bad.” Listen to this twaddle and you’ll end up a miserable wreck. You’ll make yourself susceptible to the seductive lies of advertisers and snake oil salesmen. If you want a proper estimation of your true worth, don’t look at your academic transcripts or your resume. Look to the cross. Jesus loves you more than his own life. That’s the message of the gospel and it’s the cure for mother wounds, low self-esteem, and all forms of rejection.

5. The market for acceptance and affirmation is a slave market. It perpetuates a system of human sacrifice based on envy and selfish ambition. It dehumanizes all who trade in it and fosters a distorted image of our heavenly Father as a loveless, scorekeeping judge. To end this unholy trade it is essential that we preach the gospel of acceptance, and here it is: The love of the Lord is not for sale. Like everything with grace, his acceptance and approval is a free gift that comes to us through Christ alone.

6. The church has an unhealthy obsession with sin. We spend our lives watching out for sin, resisting sin, fighting sin, hiding sin, running from sin, owning up to sin, talking about sin, turning from sin, and hopefully, overcoming sin. With so much emphasis on sin, guilt, and shame, is it any wonder so many of us don’t feel righteous? We need the Holy Spirit’s conviction of righteousness now more than ever.

7. The ministry of reconciliation is not telling people that a huffy God waits for them to sooth his offended ego with a bunch of repentance flowers and a box of confession chocolates. It is the thrill of proclaiming the glad, happy news that God loves them, his face is turned towards them, and he holds nothing against them.

8. It is ridiculous to think you can pay God to forgive you. Yet many sincere believers are examining their hearts for unconfessed sins because they think God is a sin collector who trades favors for sin. Hear that slapping sound? That’s the sound of a hundred-million angels doing facepalms!

9. You may be worried that you will disappoint God. It’s not going to happen. It is literally impossible to disappoint an all-knowing God… When you stumble he responds with unaffected grace: “I knew you were going to do that, but don’t worry, I still love you.” Jesus knew ahead of time that Peter was going to deny him and yet Jesus didn’t reject Peter. Instead he loved him and prayed for him. Jesus knew ahead of time that Judas would betray him and yet Jesus didn’t reject Judas. In the very act of betrayal Jesus called him “friend” signaling that even in that dark moment the door of acceptance remained wide open. We don’t deserve any of this. We have done nothing to merit his favor. If anything, we have done plenty to warrant his displeasure. Yet Jesus reaches out to a sinful world and says, “Open the door and invite me in for dinner.” Jesus’ acceptance is mind-boggling. It’s like nothing on earth.

10. The gospel is simple enough for a child to understand: God loves you. Period. That’s it. Bow your heads and musicians to the front because I am done preaching. I’m serious—it really is that simple. God loves you. We will spend eternity unpacking those three little words and exploring the immeasurable reaches of his love. This is what we were born for.

Source: The Gospel in Ten Words


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25 Comments on The Gospel in 10 sound bites

  1. Kingdom Foundation // September 10, 2013 at 12:27 am // Reply

    Dear Paul,
    Thank you for this one! Such a blessing! I am from South Africa – how can I get hold of “The Gospel in Ten Words”? Kind regards
    Dewald van Heerden

  2. So beautifully simple…but foolishness to those that have been blinded by well-meaning religious teaching. I know because I was there once. It takes time to unlearn religious traditions of men.

  3. Jesus loves me and God isn’t mad at me. Thanks Paul! Only thing I might add is what I heard Steve McVey say at Grace Cafe Church yesterday ….. “and God is proud of you”. Grace and peace.

  4. wow,that covers it in a nut shell,i have never read it, shame on me,but I LIKE IT,but its good news the lord got the message to me,I may buy several copies just so, when those times come, you just want to say,here read this,I think you get it.

  5. Paul I love that pitiful picture of trying to soothe God’s ego with “repentance flowers and a box of confession chocolates”!! How many times have I done that myself ….before I understood Grace, anyway. I love everything in this article, tastes like condensed nectar. Very strong. Very sweet. Beyond delicious. Thank you.
    Long time E2R fan – Gilly Stott UK

  6. Amen to your great sound bites.
    1. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world …”
    2. 1 John 4:16-17: “We know and rely on the love God has for us.” My pastor loves to wave the Love command before us—love the Lord thy God with alll…—, but he’s mistaken. As nice as it sounds, commandments are not our friends, they are to show us our depravity, and our need of Jesus. They condemn us, and cannot give us the righteousness required by the Most High. And so it is with love. It’s Jesus who is love that pleases God; how can fleshly man love God? They may try to impress others with their “filthy rags” love, but God cannot be fooled. There’s so much more that I want to write on this, and lots of verses for this point# 2 alone.
    3. …4. …5. … …10. …
    I can find hundreds of Scripture verses that form the basis of your sound bites.
    Thank you brother Paul.

  7. Ive already gotten catholic feedback,…………and you know THATS TO SIMPLE.

  8. Absolutely wonderful. I would love to buy this book.

  9. This is exactly what I need! I’m always thinking about sin looking out for sin subconsciously and literally. It’s not a good place. I’m always anxious I hate it! I know GOD LOVES ME it just seems like my heart hasn’t believed it yet… Iv experienced Him and He’s spoken to me and revealed Himself to me in such beautiful ways yet I feel horrible still! major heart issue! I definetly need good teaching that brings revelation and freedom! This book sounds like that! Thank you for all you do, seriously! All the blogs that get sent to my email are such a blessing. I’m soo thankful to GOD for you Paul!

    • Hi Rachael,

      Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saves a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.

      “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)


      • Thank you so much Nick! Thank you for reaching out and encouraging me. Made me cry… GOD BLESS you and all your loved ones always… 🙂

    • you know, i was watching J,Prince yesterday and he was talking about Gods love for us,and I was looking thinking how I was beginning to really experience that love,and i said you know Josephs got that Beatles haircut [george harrison]i would say and a revelation on Gods love came to me,are you ready,HE LOVES YOU YA YA YA, HE LOVES YOU YA YA YA,AND WITH A LOVE LIKE THAT YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD BE GLAD………….sorry couldnt help it.

      • Amen to that Earl Vordenberg, Joseph Prince is awesome and Andrew Wommack, wow! He is amazing on the grace like Joseph and Jimmy Swaggat. The only three on our network worth listening too.

    • Racheal,

      Though God had healed me of the vague but powerful underlying anxiety in my heart, I still remember 25 years ago as if it was yesterday, the bleakness, the ever accusing conscience, the feeling like a failure in every way, and many other debilitating emotions.

      After I left the various experiments with work-based religions, from existentialism, to Trancendental Meditation, to Hinduism, and from a Bible-based religion that I was born into, I jumped with exhilarating joy into Christianity upon reading the New Testament for the first time, three times continuously. I remembered the feeling of a spring of living water rising in my heart upon reading John 5:24 (New Living Translation) “”I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”

      Just as the people marveled at the power of Jesus’ words, as they compared him to the teachers of the law, I compared him to the writers who wrote Steppen Wolf, Siddhartha, The Bhagavad Gita, The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran), etc.. These men were still lost, and I found hope in the living God.

      But we have to read the Bible from grace, clinging to the cross of Christ as if it’s the only thing that matters, all else are just to explain why Jesus had to come, and when He came, the old way of relating to God must be set aside (Eph 2:15-18; Col 2:13-15). We must relate to Him in a new and living way (Heb 10:20).

      He will set you free, Racheal.

      Your brother in Christ,

      • wow, Nick I feel like im reading my biography,being a refugee from the 60s, I was preaching transcendental meditation in 12th grade catechism class,plus looking into all the rest of it, long story short,at that time I didnt want anything to do with Jesus at that time,but he was drawing me even at that time, I not realizing he was the one i was looking for,I searched him out until he found me.

      • I’m glad to know someone who’s been there.

        Actually I spent lots more years on the existential stuff than other endeavors. Very intense mental weightlifting to try to make sense of why I was here, and how I can get out of it.

        I learned self love from the existentialist. But little did I know that was the beginning, the seed of the all consuming black hole that crushed me. No man can love himself to true joy and contentment. Imagine a blackhole trying to fill itself… He must learn to be loved, loved by Someone other than himself. Then tears of gladness and comfort, instead of self pity, will flow and healing will begin.

        “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

        “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

      • the one that used to drive me nuts,was trying to mediate on [where did god come from.]

  10. Right on the money Paul!

  11. Music to my ears.Love this.

  12. What a wonderful way to present grace Pastor Paul, so beautiful, it touched my heart, well done and God bless. Ur congregation must be happy. Now, what was preached at my church, errrrrm; condemnation. Words are seeds and everything is produced by words, the world was created by words and for sure and for sure, it was words first before actions that caused sin to enter in the world. Words will bear root in us and produce fruit, unto life or unto death. Our biggest concern is to listen, understand and read the right words, meditate on them as much as possible, not meditate on the wrong thing. “day and night,” said the Lord. That is what is hurting the church. If we encounter negative words, we should condemn them and identify with Christ. Our life is hidden in Christ, that is our true identification.

  13. Amen! I received a copy of your wonderful book on Kindle. Read it so fast, I could not put it down once I started and all I can say is that your words reflecting God’s love and grace for us in such simple, truth filled terms, freed me when I was in need. I will always cherish this book and wish everyone would read it.

  14. I praise God for your wisdom and for imparting/sharing it to us. Moreover this site lead me to read Grace, the Forbidden Gospel; so many gems there!!! Praise God for rising up saints ministering Grace Gospel like Joseph Prince, Andre van der Merwe and yourself and others. Praise the Lord oh my soul!!! 🙂

  15. Brian Midmore // September 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm // Reply

    Where I live in the UK I wouldn’t say that ‘The church has an unhealthy obsession with sin’. Of course the church is a huge and diverse organization and some churches are too interested in sin. I find sweeping generalisations difficult to stomach. Of course Paul was interested in sin to some extent, for example he berated the Corinthians for allowing sexual immorality in the church 1 Cor 5. Try not to be too critical of Gods church. Even clapped out institutions like the Anglican church to which I belong have got a pretty good understanding of the grace of God, it might not be as dynamic as yours but for a 500 year old its not bad.

  16. Roshan J Easo // January 31, 2017 at 9:35 am // Reply

    When your conscience condemns you about something like the “rule of scripture”. Yeah. Angel face-palms.

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